Archive for February, 2010

28
Feb
10

Another Welcome Sight

When the ice melts and water flows, the geese and ducks return.  The Canadian Geese display their hardiness as they rest on the ice near the open water of the Beaver habitat.

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Not being overly selfish the geese share this area with some Mallards.

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27
Feb
10

Perched Adolescent Bald Eagle

Often mistaken as hawks because of their mottled coloration and sometimes mistaken as golden eagles because they lack white feathers, this adolescent bald eagle perched above me while I took pictures.  Wild animals often seek an edge by placing the sun at their back when observing as is the case in this photo, leaving me to try and get a picture with the camera pointed toward the sun.  Probably one reason why wildlife photographers prefer taking pictures on overcast days.

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26
Feb
10

Welcome Sight

Wisconsin has had a lot of snow this past week, but it melted almost as fast as it hit the ground.  Now, ice has begun to melt, revealing this ice-covered stream.

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26
Feb
10

White-tailed Deer: Curious Doe

Last weekend I received a reminder of why I enjoy photographing the park deer at Lake Kegonsa.  With the deer protected from hunting within its boundaries, I get photos of well-fed healthy deer.

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I photographed this doe near the road as I drove over to where I knew the eagles would be.  A free-ranging wild deer that does not enjoy the protection of a state park’s boundaries. 

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I saw several deer last weekend.  Two of which sported wounds, more than likely from gunshots.  This doe’s tail is maimed and she appears to have a healed-over wound near her left front leg.

25
Feb
10

Bald Eagle: In Flight

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24
Feb
10

White-tailed Deer: Foot-stomp

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I saw several whitetail deer last weekend as well, including three watching the eagles devour the deer carcass from the hill above.  I noticed this doe behind a tree as I drove along and stopped to take her picture.  She is the alpha female.  The boss.  She will tell the other deer with her what to do.  Being relatively silent creatures, whitetail deer have subtle forms of communication that allow them to convey their intent to each other.  This alpha doe, being responsible for making the group’s decisions, displayed two of those forms while I took pictures.

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The foot-stomp.  By stomping her foot, she can tell the other deer with her to stop, which I believe would be one stomp.  A second stomp and the other deer will turn and run.  Her initial command told the others to merely stop, while she investigated.  She then turned toward me to get a better look.  They know cars generally don’t leave the road and chase them into the trees, so they will approach a car.

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She moved in a little closer and she doesn’t like what’s going on.  Her foot is raised because she’s deciding to give the command to run.  Her tail is pointed straight back.  That’s a warning.  She does not like what’s happening.  Every band of whitetail deer has an alpha pair – a buck and a doe – usually the oldest most experienced.  When their tails are down they’re comfortable, not frightened.  When they twitch it, similar to a dog wagging its tail, that means they’re nervous.  When it’s up, that means they’re frightened.  Straight back, like in the picture above, is a clear signal that this doe does not like me being there.  She then gave the signal to run and the three deer with her turned and ran up the hill.

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Here’s the hard part for most humans to understand.  Her job does not end when the deer take off running.  As the leader of this band, she is responsible for the band’s safety.  She will run about thirty to forty feet and will then stop and check her back-trail.  As a photographer, or hunter or just casual observer, this is the part where self-discipline is required.  Do not make any moves until after she stops to check her back-trail.  If you move before she stops, she will just keep on running.  If you wait, she will stop and just look at you.

23
Feb
10

Bald Eagle: Perched

Less than a quarter of a mile from the possum an eagle perched in a tree.

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This eagle had perched in a tree about fifty yards from the road and stayed long enough for me to grab a few shots.

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Luckily, for the possum, the eagle had already gorged itself on venison.




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